So, I was bopping around Patheos, as you do when you’re a Pagan of a Certain Age who still loves long-form blogging, and I came across this article which, among other things, said “cultivate joy”. Now I’m not Lokian, I’m not Norse reconstructionist or any particular subsection of Heathen.
And: I still appreciated the heads-up, you know?
So here I am asking myself: How can I cultivate joy?
Why? Because “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals”. Because my Fetch is a kid who didn’t get a lot of play time and would probably enjoy it. Because it’s good for my brain and refills my creative well. Because joyful experiences shared are points of connection.
So why not?
I pulled three tarot cards from my Wildwood deck to see what they had to say about it, and I got:
The Three of Fire – “Fulfillment”. Adventure, optimism, stepping into the unknown… but doing so from a secure home base (literally and figuratively)
Ten of Air – “Instruction”. Which a lot of interpretations read as this intensely negative thing, but for me has always been a card about leveling up. In the case of the Wildwood deck, it’s particularly about knowledge and passing on skills you’ve mastered (but maybe also getting better at things you’re new at?). It’s a “Next chapter!” kind of card.
Four of Air – “Rest”. To some extent, I think this is “Joy helps alleviate burnout” but also “Introvert time can be an avenue along-which to cultivate joy, too”.
So, what I see here is a lot of “home = sanctuary”, coupled with “try new things – they don’t have to be dramatic to make you happy”.
I’m still a long way from finishing my novel draft. I’ve got about 2 weeks, or a little more, to write 35,000 words which… we’ll see if I can knock that out. That’s a fair few 6000 word days I’m looking at, but… maybe? Fingers crossed. I’m revisiting the idea of liturgical and devotional poetry. Partly because I read this thing about Pagan Prayer, and partly because it remains something I’d like to do, even if I’m not sure where to start or how to keep things from getting repetitive. I think my Gods might enjoy the work, and I think I would enjoy doing it. So maybe that’s what my November will involve.
I’ve been thinking of the part of prayer that’s Listening, and how incredibly bad I am at it, most of the time. Not just the concrete bunker that is my skull, but also the way my anxiety-brain goes running off madly in all directions, afraid to listen lest I find out that Somebody Is Mad At Me or something… even when I know that isn’t likely.
I have a couple of books – anthologies like Her Words and Return of the Great Goddess – that were published in the 1990s and are mixture of historical devotional prayers/praises (translations of Homer, etc) and contemporary verse that may or may not be explicitly devotional or offered to a specific goddess. But I find them… nice(?) to pull out and read from.
Something someone at a Pride party said to me… more than a year ago now, is that a lot of The Neighbours just want to be noticed and acknowledged. Which leads me to think that maybe, possibly, I could draw on the examples of Mary Oliver and Bliss Carman as much as anyone else’s, and just write what I see and try to open myself to Wonder.
We’ll see where it takes me, I guess.
We’re well and truly into the Season of the Witch now. Have been for about three weeks, if not a little longer. The mornings are cold, the leaves are turning, it’s getting dark earlier (noticeably, even this soon after the Equinox), and I’m grateful for layered clothes and thick socks, even if I’m still risking wearing sandals when I run up the street (literally – we’re half a block from a grocery store) for emergency brussels sprouts and nutmeg (just me? Okay).
We just celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada – thence, in fact, the emergency brussels sprouts and nutmeg (though my visiting girlfriend was actually the one running that errand). It happens 2-3 weeks after Autumn Equinox (it used to be the first Sunday after the first full moon after Autumn Equinox, but it’s been standardized at some point in the last 15-20 years or so), and I find it a nice way to mark the Second Harvest / Mabon in a way that lets me take advantage of a long weekend (and an anniversary) and invite non-pagan friends and relatives into a Harvest Feast where I say my Thanks during the planning and cooking phases, and just keep the altar lit when everybody’s here.
I have to admit that this kind of thing helps when it comes to getting my butt down to the season stones in a timely (ish) fashion. I didn’t go at Autumn Equinox. But I went to the Autumn Stone over Thanksgiving weekend, brought whiskey and a home-made cranberry-apple-walnut muffin, and gave my thanks for full larder and happy harvest and having my girls around me.
Now my head’s pretty firmly turning towards Samhain – ghost pumpkins and purple autumn asters, rutabaga, jarahdale squash, Russian sage and birch leaves turning to pale gold, turkey heart and liver for solo breakfast on a Monday morning three weeks from now as Ancestor Moon waxes and Scorpio Season takes off. I might try doing a Silent Supper on the night of the 30th – try doing that meditative listening/attentiveness thing again and see what, if anything, happens. Maybe I’ll hear from somebody.
The cards I pulled for the Full Moon were also from the Wildwood deck and what I picked up were:
The Three of Water (“Joy” but also, typically, my Polyamoury card)
The Ten of Fire (“Responsibility”)
My decks – but particularly the Wildwood deck – tend to run VERY literal. So I’m not surprised to see the Three of Water turning up both (a) when I’ve been thinking about how to cultivate joy, but more-so (b) when my girlfriend just visited for a couple of weeks, and I hosted a Big Traditional Feast with both partners and my local-extended polycule in attendance.
As for the ten of fire though… this is often a card about only taking on what you’re actually responsible for. Questions about “what is your job and what isn’t” and “who you are responsible TO is not the same as what you are responsible FOR” come up, for sure.
But this is also just a card about: “Did you make a commitment? You should make good on that commitment then.” And potentially about choosing your battles – and your tasks – carefully so that you don’t take on too much.
Movement: Walks in the woods and a small living-room dance party, recently, with my visiting girlfriend. Crescent Moon pose (and some Warrior Two), when I haven’t been doing my nightly yoga.
Attention: Mostly I’ve been paying attention to the temperature and frost warnings. My little Fiona bird is probably mostly de-fleshed at this point and if I want to dig up and preserve her skull, I should probably get on that now-ish.
Gratitude: My girlfriend. My wife. Flirty karaoke shenanigans at the local tiny gay bar. In-person visits. In-person thanksgiving dinner. Leftovers. Extra cash thanks to a surprise work-gig. My relatives being friendly and welcoming to my poly-family. Potlucks. Surprise pears from my neighbour. Multiple people offering me pie! The loan of a really great book in a really great series. Crisp, sunny mornings. My neighbours turning on their furnace so that we can make do without doing so yet. Gifted bamboo cutlery. Garden herbs. Winter squash. The feast and everyone – human and otherwise – who contributed to it. Moonlight. Sunsets. Icecream. Being able to see my breath. Warm shoes. Warm blankets. Fresh sheets. Kisses. Being in love with multiple people and having them like each other and get along. So many things, basically. My heart is full.
Inspiration: Uh… I mean, if you call “reasons teen me was mad at my mom” inspiration… I guess that? Drafting a YA novel is a trip.
Creation: As I said, I’ve been working on An Actual Novel. And also made a giant dinner that worked out really well. But that, and a batch of apple butter, are pretty much the extent of it at the moment. Onwards!
@amazon_syren It’s That Time Of Year. Walking in the woods. We paid our respects to a very old oak tree and also took pictures of these #mushrooms. A+ anniversary. #forestwitch #greenwitch #equinox #polyamory #queerwitch ♬ Season Of The Witch – Lana Del Rey